Dick of the year: Jo Swinson, Lynne Featherstone, Sarah Teather
This is a nomination for the Bright Green #dick2010 award from Lisa Ansell
Jo Swinson, Lynne Featherstone, and Sarah Teather, our feminist MPs.
This is a short, and very special joint Dick of the Year to Jo Swinson, Lynne Featherstone, and Sarah Teather, our feminist MPs.
I am so proud to have MPs who declare themselves feminists. These mighty women went into politics to represent women. If you ever want to hear someone waffling about body fascism – these are your girls.
Ask them what their position is on a social policy that rolls back equality for decades, pushes women and their children into poverty, removes every way out but marriage… and this waffling subdues to become vague mutterings about men needing to pay for their kids…or complete silence.
Still, if they keep waffling about body fascism no one will notice them selling women down the river for a government salary……
So in honour of our ‘feminists’ in parliament, I nominate them for Dicks of the Year!
THank you, I am so glad you asked. While you read remember the difference between a single parent and a married on is generally just a spouse. And marriages end.
Shall we start with the housing benefit cuts? Single parents are overrepresented on housing benefit claim lists for several reasons
-They earn much less. The gender pay gap widens to 41% when you look solely at the part time workforce that is dominated by those balancing working with caring responsibilities.
– Property prices have risen a lot.
– childcare is very expensive. Full time childcare for one child about £500 a month round here. More in other places.
Housing benefit is a funny benefit- not an unemployment benefit. It guarantees that after the housing costs they recognise(my rent £500 per month- Local Housing Allowance max £400) and your childcare, you are left with the equivalent of the Income Support rate + £15, for your household- to feed those children. Income Support rates £127 per week for one child one adult. THat is to provide three meals a day, maintaining a home, functioning at work, getting to work- that is clothes and that is maintaining a child. They cost a lot.
I would have had to earn £26k to be able to live without housing benefit, when I was paying childcare. Thats above the national average salary at a time when my ability to earn anywhere near the average salary is really not the same as other peoples.
On average one parent households claiming LHA already pay an extra £100 per month to their landlords.
THe amount of housing costs your claim will recofnise will decrease by about £60 per monthhere. That is 1 and a half weeks money. While working and looking after your child.
They have done this by changing the way LHA is calculated.That cut alone would have meant I had to leave my area, and give up my job.
Added to that the change in childcare contribution in tax credits. IE the money that you have to spend to get out to work- because your children exist all the time- that has been cut from 80% of your childcare costs- to 70%. In my house that would be an extra £50 per month.
THen there is the VAT increase.
THen you have to take that in the context of several other changes.
Legal aid for challenging poor treatment at work has been slashed. Systematic and widespread discrimination against new mothers was identified by the equality commission as more prevalent than ANY other form of discrimination in the workplace- with having a baby meaning your earnings will drop by about 30% across all sectors- in some professions having a child will leave you completely unable to stay where you are.
Legal aid slashed for family law cases. Women are the largest users of legal aid in family law cases- the headlines talk about deterring people from getting divorced- it is also the mechanism by which you gain access to your assets from the marriage. When you have been the partner who earned less cos you did all the work- legal aid is quite important.
Then there is the cap on tax credits- which now sits at £25k. THis has already meant that two of my friends have realised they can’t go back to work till their kids are much older. The cost of childcare doesnt really feature in the coalitions research- but essentially- by the time the cost of going back to work is added to the cost of childcare, and the loss of tax credits- my friends will have to choose to put their families in financial hardship if they go back to work. You dont really do that when you have just had a baby- it kind of goes against the grain.
In order to have enoughmoney I would have had to not to need housing benefit, I woudl have had to earn £26k.
THen if they leave their husbands, after being out of the workplace- they will find that if their children are 5 they will be put on JSA or the future Universal Credit. With JSA they will find that if they fail to find employmentn within 12 months they will lose a further 10% of their housing benefit- if they have managed to stay in their communities by that point- this is pretty much the pointn at which they will have to leave.
Maintaining the conditions of a benefit like JObseekers allowance mean that there are literally weekly risks of interruptions to your household income.(Rate for mother with one child £127 plus £18 child benefit-remember this is already covering a shortfall in housing benefit that averages at about £100 per month across the country).
Then when the Universal credit comes in- new mothers of babies as young as one will face financial sanctions for ‘not being in touch with the workplace’- on top of the stuff we have already discussed. This is while they are caring for a 1 year old baby- which is pretty much an 24 hour a day job with no guarantee of sleep.
Then mothers who are currently claiming tax credits will find that their hours are subject to review by the DWP- and if they don’t feel you are ‘doing enough’- they can tell you to change them. It isn’t like finding the right balance of working and caring for your children is something that can be trusted to women.
Under these rules, if I was paying my childcare bill(which at £500 per month wasnt that hefty- can run to £1500 if you have 2-3 children depending where you are)=I cannot possibly see how I would have managed to continue to work.
If you would like to put yourself in the position of the mother of a pre-school aged child, married, and ask yourself whether you would leave your husband if they were your options? And then ask yourself if you cant pay your bills through working, you cant pay your bills not working, you cant magic your kids away, you cant challenge discrimination at work, you cant afford to go after whats rightfully yours from your marriage- and all under a very big umbrella of incentivising marriage- what you would do?
THis party have ensured that for many women in this country there is literally NO way out of poverty- and they have done it in full knowledge that that is what they are doing. DWP own research shows it= and it was done by a selection of nutcase rightwing MPs linked to fundamentalist christian think tanks, and organisations….
That is how I work it out. Although actually, I started to work it out as me and all my friends sat and looked around us going ‘oh shit’ what do we do?
(Oh and don’t forget that if you ever do get to the holy grail of £44k a year…your child benefit will be stopped because you are one of the richest women in the country)
pushes women and their children into poverty, removes every way out but marriage
The only way out of poverty is marriage??? How did you work that one out?